The Main Thing!
This year has been a crazy whirlwind! So much has happened and so many things have changed. Last year, in October, God began speaking very clearly some steps we were to take. He nudged us to sell pretty much everything we own, and to purchase an RV. This RV would become our fulltime home. As tough as it was, we chose to obey, sold the farm (and everything in it) and stepped out in a radical way. By the end of May 2018, we had downsized everything to fit in a storage unit and in the RV. We sure had grand ideas of what we wanted to do along the way as we travelled, but God had bigger plans.
He had plans to wreck my world with his love and grace! He had plans to take me to places that I never thought I would go. All the while, he was restoring my focus back to the main thing. Which was Him! Dont get me wrong. It wasnt like what we had been doing wasnt a good thing. We had pastored, planted, helped heal, deliver, encourage and host the presence of God. However, all of this was in a context that had slowly drawn me into a place that took my focus away from the “Main Thing”. Despite my being so consumed in ministry and always involving myself in the “good” thing, God has been faithful the last three months, in reminding me who I am by reminding me who He is!
As we have travelled from Ohio to Tennessee, to Florida, through Lousianna, Texas, Colorado and back again, the most amazing things have happened. I found Jesus again! He was right there looking at me through the eyes of the girl checking me out at Wal Mart in Alabama. She had been crying out for a miracle. The loving words of the Father came through me and confirmed a glorious next step into her future. As she wept, I realized how I had longed to be standing right there in that place, at that moment.
In Colorado we spent some nights hanging out with the homeless. We fed them, loved them and listened to stories of their fight with cancer, loss of family, and just the hard lives that they had lived. We heard how they had been stuck in that parking lot sleeping in a car for weeks in 100 degree heat. The one lady had no family to speak of. Just a mean little dog that never let anyone get near her. For good reason. She was absolutely, at the most vulnerable place in her life. She was barely surviving. My wife took her on a Wal Mart shopping spree. She purchased some new clothes, food, and some supplies that she would need in the future. No we didnt end her plight! Was she going to be hungry again? Probably. But, she felt the touch of God as Mindy declared life into her body. She felt hope, for the first time in a long time. The last thing she did, was brought my wife a picture of a butterfly that she had colored by hand. And then she said this, “Thank You! Nobody has ever done anything like this for me!” Again the eyes of Jesus looked up from that destitute woman stuck in a Colorado Wal Mart parking lot. My heart was shattered!
We have seen the hand of God over and over this summer. Legs two inches short have grown out miraculously. A young man was radically delivered from drugs and gave his life to Jesus! We saw a marrriage cut short, begin to come back to life in Jesus. A woman regained full mobility in her knee just three weeks after knee replacement. We have encountered a move of God in our own family that is nothing short of a miracle! And on….and on….and on!!!
Along the way, its just been the confirmation of Jesus everywhere we look. Jesus is it! Its all about Him and all for Him! My fear for many of us is that we will get stuck doing the good thing in the name of God instead of doing the God thing for Jesus sake! I’m healing through the hurting! My eyes have been opened to the thing that my heart has been longing for. His name is Jesus! He is found in the ugly places.
In Mark 2 it tells a story of Jesus hanging out, having dinner with Levi and “many tax collectors and sinners.” Do you know that Jesus still hangs out there? He is still with the prostitute. He is stilll with the drunkard. He is still with the drug addict. He is still hanging out with the worst of the worst. There is a simple reason why. Its because they need him! The saved already have him, but the lost need him. Very simple. Its said best in in verse 17. Jesus said to them “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” There is a very strong point that He is trying to make here. A point that I’m being reminded of even as I write this. Sometimes we can miss Jesus because we never make it to the sick bay! We hang out so long in the house of the righteous that we never know the sinner. I’ve resolved to make a mark on this world, by meeting Jesus in the dark alleys, the bar rooms, crack houses, prisons and the like.
What I have experienced the last three months is that Jesus means to change me! He wants to minister to me through the “least of these”. At the end of the day, if I were to be taken home to heaven, the question would be “Do I know you?” I’m resolved to have an answer that goes something like this: “Yes Lord, I have walked with you in the darkest of places by loving the least of these.”
To partner with us in reaching the world for Jesus: